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2016/169/AFR: World Bank Group unveils $16 Billion Africa Climate Business Plan to Tackle Urgent Climate Challenges (24.11.2015)

Gado World Bank

One third of funds expected to come from Bank’s fund for the poorest countries

WASHINGTON, November 24, 2015—The World Bank Group today unveiled a new plan that calls for $16 billion in funding to help African people and countries adapt to climate change and build up the continent’s resilience to climate shocks.

Titled Accelerating Climate-Resilient and Low-Carbon Development, the Africa Climate Business Plan will be presented at COP21, the global climate talks in Paris, on November 30. It lays out measures to boost the resilience of the continent’s assets – its people, land, water, and cities – as well as other moves including boosting renewable energy and strengthening early warning systems.

Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to climate shocks, and our research shows that could have far-ranging impact — on everything from child stunting and malaria to food price increases and droughts,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.  “This plan identifies concrete steps that African governments can take to ensure that their countries will not lose hard-won gains in economic growth and poverty reduction, and they can offer some protection from climate change.”

Per current estimates, the plan says that the region requires $5-10 billion per year to adapt to global warming of 2°C.

The World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme estimate that the cost of managing climate resilience will continue to rise to $20-50 billion by mid-century, and closer to $100 billion in the event of a 4°C warming.

Of the $16.1 billion that the ambitious plan proposes for fast-tracking climate adaptation, some $5.7 billion is expected from the International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the World Bank Group that supports the poorest countries. About $2.2 billion is expected from various climate finance instruments, $2.0 billion from others in the development community, $3.5 billion from the private sector, and $0.7 billion from domestic sources, with an additional $2.0 billion needed to deliver on the plan.

“The Africa Climate Business Plan spells out a clear path to invest in the continent’s urgent climate needs and to fast-track the required climate finance to ensure millions of people are protected from sliding into extreme poverty,” explains Makhtar Diop, World Bank Group Vice President for Africa. “While adapting to climate change and mobilizing the necessary resources remain an enormous challenge, the plan represents a critical opportunity to support a priority set of climate-resilient initiatives in Africa.”

The plan will boost the region’s ability to adapt to a changing climate while reducing greenhouse emissions, focusing on a number of concrete actions. It identifies a dozen priority areas for action that will enhance Africa’s capacity to adapt to the adverse consequences of climate variation and change.

The first area for action aims to boost the resilience of the continent’s assets. These comprise natural capital (landscapes, forests, agricultural land, inland water bodies, oceans); physical capital (cities, transport infrastructure, physical assets in coastal areas); and human and social capital (where efforts should include improving social protection for the people most vulnerable to climate shocks, and addressing climate-related drivers of migration).

The second area for action focuses on powering resilience, including opportunities for scaling up low-carbon energy sources. In addition to helping mitigate climate change, these activities offer considerable resilience benefits, as societies with inadequate access to energy are also more vulnerable to climate shocks.

And the third area for action will enable resilience by providing essential data, information and decision-making tools for climate-resilient development across sectors. This includes strengthening hydro-met systems at the regional and country levels, and building capacity to plan and design climate-resilient investments.

The plan is a ‘win-win’ for all especially the people in Africa who have to adapt to climate change and work to mitigate its impacts,” said Jamal Saghir, the World Bank’s Senior Regional Adviser for Africa. “We look forward to working with African governments and development partners, including the private sector, to move this plan forward and deliver climate smart development.”

The Africa Climate Business Plan reflects contributions and inputs from a wide variety of partners with whom the Bank is already collaborating on the ground, in a coordinated effort to increase Africa’s resilience to climate variability and change. The plan aims to help raise awareness and accelerate resource mobilization for the region’s critical climate-resilience and low-carbon initiatives.

The plan warns that unless decisive action is taken, climate variability and change could seriously jeopardize the region’s hard-won development gains and its aspirations for further growth and poverty reduction. And it comes in the wake of Bank analysis which indicates climate change could push up to 43 million more Africans into poverty by 2030.

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Press Release: Africa Faces the Challenge of Sustaining Growth amid Weak Global Conditions (05.10.2015)

SAP WB

WASHINGTON, October 5, 2015— Sub-Saharan Africa countries are continuing to grow, albeit at a slower pace, due to a more challenging economic environment. Growth will slow in 2015 to 3.7 percent from 4.6 percent in 2014, reaching the lowest growth rate since 2009, according to new World Bank projections.

These latest figures are outlined in the World Bank’s new Africa’s Pulse, the twice-yearly analysis of economic trends and the latest data on the continent. The 2015 forecast remains below the robust 6.5 percent growth in GDP which the region sustained in 2003-2008, and drags below the 4.5 percent growth following the global financial crisis in 2009-2014. Overall, growth in the region is projected to pick up to 4.4 percent in 2016, and further strengthen to 4.8 percent in 2017.

Sharp drops in the price of oil and other commodities have brought on the recent weakness in growth. Other external factors such as China’s economic slowdown and tightening global financial conditions weigh on Africa’s economic performance, according to Africa’s Pulse. Compounding these factors, bottlenecks in supplying electricity in many African countries hampered economic growth in 2015.

“The end of the commodity super-cycle poses an opportunity for African countries to reinvigorate their reform efforts and thereby transform their economies and diversify sources of growth. Implementing the right policies to boost agricultural productivity, and reduce electricity costs while expanding access, will improve competitiveness and support the growth of light manufacturing,” says Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa.

According to Africa’s Pulse, several countries are continuing to post robust growth. Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda and Tanzania are expected to sustain growth at around 7 percent or more per year in 2015-17, spurred by investments in energy and transport, consumer spending and investment in the natural resources sector.

Gains in Poverty Reduction

Africa’s Pulse found that progress in reducing income poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa has been occurring faster than previously thought. According to World Bank estimates poverty in Africa declined from 56 percent in 1990 to 43 percent in 2012. At the same time, Africa’s population saw progress in all dimensions of well-being, particularly in health (maternal mortality, under-5 mortality) and primary school enrollment, where the gender gap shrank.

Yet African countries continue to face a stubbornly high birth rate, which has limited the impact of the past two decades of sustained economic growth on reducing the overall number of poor. Countries still lag behind those in other regions in making progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). For example, Africa will not meet the MDG of halving the share of population living in poverty between 1990 and 2015.

Weaker Commodity Prices

Sub-Saharan Africa’s rich natural resources have made it a net exporter of fuel, minerals and metals, and agricultural commodities. These commodities account for nearly three-fourths of the region’s goods exports. Robust supplies and lower global demand have accounted for the decline of commodity prices across the board. For instance, the drop in the prices of natural gas, iron ore, and coffee exceeded 25 percent since June 2014, according to the report.

Africa’s Pulse notes that overall decline in growth in the region is nuanced and the factors hampering growth vary among countries. In the region’s commodity exporters—especially oil-producers such as Angola, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Nigeria, as well as producers of minerals and metals such as Botswana and Mauritania, the drop in prices is negatively affecting growth. In Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia, domestic factors such as electricity supply constraints are further stemming growth. In Burundi and South Sudan threats from political instability and social tensions are taking an economic and social toll.

Fiscal deficits across the region are now larger than they were at the onset of the global financial crisis, the report finds. Rising wage bills and lower revenues, especially among oil-producers, led to a widening of fiscal deficits. In some countries, the deficit was driven by large infrastructure expenditures. Reflecting the widening fiscal deficits in the region, government debt continued to rise in many countries. While debt-to-GDP ratios appear to be manageable in most countries, a few countries are seeing a worrisome jump in this ratio.

The dramatic, ongoing drop in commodity prices has put pressure on rising fiscal deficits, adding to the challenge in countries with depleted policy buffers,” says Punam Chuhan-Pole, Acting Chief Economist, World Bank Africa and the report’s author. “To withstand new shocks, governments in the region should improve the efficiency of public expenditures, such as prioritizing key investments, and strengthen tax administration to create fiscal space in their budgets.”

Moving Forward

Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa will be repeatedly tested as new shocks occur in the global economic environment, underscoring the need for Governments to embark on structural reforms to alleviate domestic impediments to growth, the report notes. Investments in new energy capacity, attention to drought and its effects on hydropower, reform of state-owned distribution companies, and renewed focus on encouraging private investment will help build resiliency in the power sector. Governments can boost revenues through taxes and improved tax compliance. Complementing these efforts, governments can improve the efficiency of public expenditures to create fiscal space in their budget.

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